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Struggling with eating again

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by Spot, May 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM.

  1. Spot

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    So this isn’t really new, I get stuck in this cycle every now and again. But I’m worried it’s getting bad this time. I know some people worry I have an actual eating disorder but I don’t think so. I think just because I have some symptoms of disordered eating, that doesn’t mean I meet the criteria of an actual disorder, you know?

    I’ve been thinking about calories a lot again lately and I’ve been checking that nutritional value label to see how much sugar/calories is in stuff because it’s like those are both the bane of my fucking existence. I’ve just been thinking before I eat, “Is this going to make me put on more weight?” And I tell myself I won’t think about calories but obviously, if I say not to think about them then subconsciously I still am. I’ve been feeling really self-conscious about eating in front of other people, I don’t know. I feel ashamed.

    Then, recently I started exercising again. I’ve been trying to push myself...from 30 minutes, to 45 minutes, to an hour and then beyond that. I think the most I’ve done this time has been 55 minutes. I wasn’t really happy with that but I mean, it’s better than nothing. I just feel like if it’s not hurting, it’s not doing anything. I kind of like the pain because it makes me feel like I’ve actually achieved something and I’m losing weight.

    I have been binging again and I have the same thoughts, “I’ll just work out twice as hard tonight” or “I’ll restrict tomorrow.” I haven’t started restricting again yet. I don’t want to because I don’t like that mindset and I know it’s unhealthy...but the pain and empty feeling is almost addictive. And okay, this is the most incriminating and cliché thing I could say but it makes me feel in control of myself. Of something, when I don’t feel like I can control anything else. Again, it also feels like I’m actually making a difference to my body.

    Last time I posted about this stuff, I was told to stop visiting pro-ana/pro-mia sites and I mostly stuck to that...until today. I just felt really drawn to the forums. Even though I know it’s wrong, sometimes I feel like I just don’t care anymore. Right now I’m not feeling that way though and I’m scared because I hate feeling like this. I mostly looked at stuff about how to purge although I have tried in the past...I can’t do it and I did most of what they said. I told myself that was just out of curiosity but mentally, I know I was storing the info away just in case. I’m scared that I won’t be able to break out of the cycle this time, that I’ll get trapped and I really will start purging on top of the binging and restricting as well. I think that’s the point where I’ll really lose control over this.

    I’m just writing this now, while I’m in a mindset where I know this is unhealthy and I care. Right now, I’m just in the neverending cycle of binging and then working my ass off to try to “make up for it.” I’m only in the early stages of guilt right now but I know that if it gets worse I’ll start restricting...then after that, trying to purge.

    I don’t know, is there any way to consciously make a decision to break the cycle and think more positively about yourself? Like I really don’t know how to eat without feeling guilty or just have a nice time exercising without feeling the urge to push myself.

    And is there any way to block specific sites too? I know I should block the ana/mia sites and tumblr now because my future self will thank me for it...
     
  2. I'm gay

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    Whether you are officially diagnosed or not, you clearly have disordered eating patterns. It seems important to you that you don't call this an eating disorder, and maybe you should think about why that is. I'm suggesting that perhaps you don't want to face the reality of having an eating disorder, and so you say "Well, I have some of the symptoms, but that's it." If you are in a cycle of binging, over-exercising, and purging, then, my dear, you do have an eating disorder.

    I think that by denying you have an eating disorder it keeps you from getting help. You are trying to do this on your own, maybe feeling like this is your problem and you need to solve it on your own. Would you suggest to someone addicted to alcohol that they don't need professional help and should just fix it on their own?

    I think you do need professional help. The first step, however, is admitting that you have a problem and need help.
     
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  3. Spot

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    I think my problem with admitting that I have a disorder is like I just don’t feel I have the right to use that label. I feel like my issues with eating aren’t as severe as other people’s so I don’t feel like I can call it a disorder. I sort of feel like that with every mental illness though. I’ve been diagnosed with depression but sometimes I still think I shouldn’t say I’m depressed because it might not be as bad as someone else. I don’t know, it’s stupid.

    I’m willing to admit that I may have an undiagnosed disorder at this point but I feel like it’d have to be more severe for me to be certain.

    And just to clear it up, I don’t purge. I’ve tried to in the past but found it impossible, I have a strong stomach and I hate the feeling of throwing up so I fight it with everything. I only sometimes binge, restrict and exercise.
     
  4. Ruby Dragon

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    "Only sometimes"? Well, even if you only do it once, it can be habit-forming and eventually lead to purging, no matter how hard you fight it. I agree with I'm gay - you need professional help! Someone who can help you deal with how you view yourself, and also work on resolving this binging-leading-to-punishment (harsh exercise to "make up for it") regime you've started. You won't be able to get control over this on your own. Once is once too many, and you've gone past just once. Please, please, please get professional help!

    A therapist to help you get your worries off your chest and work on your self-esteem issues. They might refer you to a dietician who can help you choose healthy, nutritious foods, that will both help you get your weight to a healthy level and give you enough energy to carry you through the day. And you probably already know this, but being on a pro-anorexia site isn't helping you. It's a way to "normalize" severely underweight people's appearance, and though you may not know this, it gets embedded in your mind!

    So eventually you will stop seeing a problem with it and you will subconsciously start to work toward becoming anorexic yourself. That's why you need professional help. So your mind can be "reset" to view yourself at a healthy weight instead of anorexic. Please stop visiting those sites. Blocking them can help, though I'm not sure how to block them. But you need to consciously make the decision to stop searching for those types of sites, to avoid succumbing to the idea that you're not thin enough, and falling into the habit to keep losing weight, to the point of anorexia. So bottom line is: Get professional help, you're already in too deep to solve this on your own!
     
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  5. I'm gay

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    Thank you for the clarifications. Purging is incredibly destructive to the digestive track, so I'm glad to hear that purging isn't part of your cycle.

    I think it's interesting that you recognize that you have a problem, but since other people have it worse, you have rationalized away getting professional help. You need to see what you're doing here is rationalizing your behavior. It's just another method we use to be in denial and avoid facing hard truths. Denial is a powerful mechanism employed by the brain in order to eliminate internal conflict. The brain doesn't like it when we are in conflict with ourselves, which is a cognitive dissonance, and so we eliminate the conflict by rationalizing the behavior.

    Yes, some people have it worse. That will always be true. But imagine it's like you broke your leg. It's a small fracture, and you can still sorta walk on it, if a bit hobbled and you limp a little. It causes you great pain, but hey, some people have it much worse. You don't want to bother the people at the hospital, right? They're taking care of people who are dying and have it much worse than you, so you decide you can just live with it, maybe try to set the leg yourself, use a cane. It'll all work out right?

    You've known for a long time that you have a problem, and you've been using every argument you can think of to avoid getting help.
    I haven't been officially diagnosed.
    It's not that bad.
    I can control it when I need to.
    It's healthy for me to get lots of exercise, right?
    Other people have it way worse than me.
    I can cut down on the binging.
    I can't claim to have a problem without being absolutely certain.
    I'm embarrassed.

    The sooner you face the truth of these issues, and work to solve the root causes of those issues, you'll continue to be at war with yourself while your body suffers for it. Please seek help.
     
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  6. Humbly Me

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    If you want you can call this a disorder in infancy, but it is - you admit to this in your post - increasing over time. If this continues you will move onto being bolimic, and then potentially anorexic. I suggest you seek help now before you reach a stage that physically endangers you and make these bad habit more ingrained.

    If you need dietary advice for maintaining or losing weight while remaining healthy note that I am not a liscenced nutrionist but I have done a fair amount of dietary research and taken classes on related topics and am always available if you post on my wall.

    Excersize is actually only good for you up to a certain point. After that you start to cause scar tissue to form on your muscles and damage your ligaments so I would avise you never push yourself to hard on a given day and instead stop when things become uncomfortable. Get into a schedule of more leisurely excersize that you can enjoy and then you don't have to focus so much. It is all about habituating good choices and not having to force yourself to "make up for" bad dietary choices you have made.

    And remember, don't forbid yourself from eating sweets or other foods you enjoy just because they are high calories. If your diet is healthy most of the time the occasional splurge won't make a noticeable difference in your weight.
     
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  7. Kodo

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    I've been there.

    Just a few years ago I was so thin, skeletal almost. And even then I just remember thinking, "It wouldn't hurt to lose a bit more weight." So I stopped eating. Counted calories like it was a hobby. Did countless situps and ran until I almost threw up. One night I remember eating too much and feeling absolutely disgusted, fixed myself something which would make me lose it. Almost drank the stuff but stopped.

    I remember looking into the mirror and being able to count my ribs. My hips stuck out, my spine stuck out. I liked being hungry, because, like you said, it made me feel in control of something. At the time I was closeted, and struggling with undiagnosed mental illness. On the verge of being anorexic.

    On my 16th birthday I remember my dad took me to the beach. I couldn't finish half of the sandwhich I ordered for lunch. Couldn't finish an ice cream cone. Hell I got lightheaded just from walking on the shore. At the time I would have flat out denied having an eating disorder, but in retrospect... yeah not so much.

    Those stories are just the tip of the iceburge. So I've been there. And this is not to say that I glorify it, body image issues still haunt me. With every one of the 40 pounds of weight I've put on in the time since, it haunts me. Part of me wants to go back sometimes.

    I never really opened up to people about this, but after reading your post and also talking with a friend of mine about his struggles with disordered eating... I just want to say I'm here for you. It is good that you are thinking about this. Opening the dialogue and asking for help is the first step.

    It is a good idea to block those sites if you can. Changing your thinking takes time. Recovering takes time. But it is absolutely possible if you work hard and are patient and forgiving with yourself. What helped me the most was finding a goal - something I wanted to physically achieve - for which the motivation outweighed those negative thought patterns. For me that came in the form of swimming and dancing, or even something as simple as finding photos of guys at a healthy weight that I wanted to look like.

    It didn't take long for me to realize that the standards I had set for myself were way harsher than any I'd impose on another person. While I looked down at myself with disdain, I'd never dare think of my friend - who weighed a good 50 pounds more than me - fat. So what is the difference?

    There was one day I entered a local cafe, one of those coastal hipster places that sell yerba mate and have tapestries hanging on the walls. The two banners on the wall that day were quotes from the Buddha. This is all they said...

    "Your body is your vessel for awakening. Treat it with care."

    "You yourself, just as much as anyone else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

    It hit me. I had lost myself, lost my body, to the war inside my mind. But I promised myself on that day that I would learn to love my body, whatever it took. Even if it was a body full of hate and dysphoria. I would change that.

    The next thing I decided to do was stop counting calories. It sounds simple, but it's a huge difference. Make yourself stop counting. Start eating at regular intervals, healthy stuff. Avoid anything that makes you nauseous, fruit and veggie smoothies are a great way to get nutrients in while keeping it easy to down. After that I got myself a physical hobby: swimming. I dished out payments every month for a training regime and a coach. I went to every single practice and I focused on the training. As a result, food became a little more appealing and necessary.

    And so my thoughts about food shifted. It was no longer something I had to do. It was fuel, so I could be a better swimmer. Not only did it accomplish that , but I also noted a significant relief in depression and I also was able to stop self harming (partly because it is impossible to be a swimmer while self harming).

    I say all of this to get here. Find something you want more than thinness. Something healthy and physical that you have control over. Something you can be proud of. When the thoughts come back, remind yourself why you started in the first place. Recovery is a long journey, but it's so worth it.

    I would recommend speaking to your therapist about these things as well, they are trained to help you and can refer you to specialists if necessary.

    There is a film which also helped me a lot, it is called To The Bone. I highly recommend watching it if you can. You're worth it, friend. And your body is beautiful. Numbers on scales do not reflect your value as a human being. Never forget that.

    Always keep fighting.
     
    #7 Kodo, May 18, 2018 at 9:50 PM
    Last edited: May 18, 2018 at 9:53 PM
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  8. emerry

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    Well, you could find a more constructive way to “make a difference”, don’t you think? You could channel this energy into a passion, this would have many benefits. It can give you a sense of growth and connect you with people.

    I also agree with others that seeing a professional is a good idea.
     
    #8 emerry, May 19, 2018 at 5:41 AM
    Last edited: May 19, 2018 at 5:41 AM